Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers


What DeMeco Ryans said as 49ers prepare for Vikings preseason matchup

Aug 14, 2022 at 6:20 PM--


San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans spoke with reporters after Sunday's practice as the team prepares for its preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings. Here is everything he had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Did you see who got the tip on the D-line in front of LB Fred Warner's interception?

"I couldn't see. I think it was [DL] Charles [Omenihu] maybe. I couldn't tell, a lot of guys in there."

Were you happy with what you saw Friday night?

"Yeah, I think our guys went out, they competed. They competed at a high level. They did what we asked. We asked our guys to attack the ball for us to go in there and to take the ball away three times to get a big fourth down stop there at the end of the game, I think from that standpoint that's exactly what we want. Now, there is still a lot of things to clean up. When we talk about the playing with the proper technique, the effort, everything, the mindset that we need from all 11 on the field. We know there are some guys there who have to pick it up. And that's what we expect from our guys. So for all those guys that didn't play, the guys who were out there, they have to go out and prove that they belong. They have to showcase that they can get out there and stand out with our ones and the other 10 guys in that huddle can be proud of what they're putting on tape. So that's a challenge to our guys to see them steadily improving, and continue to get better and really earning that right to play 49er defense."

Those plays you saw from CB Samuel Womack III on Friday, were those plays that you looked at and said, man, he stepped it up when the lights went on or is that just something you've been seeing from him throughout the summer?

"For Womack, those are plays you saw him make in college. Like he was always sticky in coverage, contesting the throws, a lot of PBUs, a lot of interceptions in college. So, I've seen him make those plays, seen him make those plays in the game as well, seen him make those plays in practice, so it wasn't a surprise that he was sticky in coverage. He was exactly where he needs to be. And a smart player making really big time plays for us. Womack, he has to continue, he's another guy who just has to continue to improve off of what he's done. Made two good plays, but he has to continue to improve his technique and everything that we ask him to do, he has to continue to get better and excel at all of those things."

He said when he was in college they ran similar coverages to what you guys run. Did you notice that when you first brought him in that the transition was relatively smooth for him? Just from a schematic standpoint?

"Yeah. It's been smooth. Credit to Womack, he's a smart player who's detailed in what he does. He studies off the field. He studies, he's asking questions on the field, in the meeting room, so he's a very smart guy who has what it takes to make it in his league just by his mental makeup. So that does give him a head up on guys, just because of the mental makeup and he cares about what he's doing. He cares about what he's putting on tape. So that's going to allow him to go far if he continues to do what he's doing."

Is he someone you view as in legitimate competition for that starting nickel spot? Or are you pretty set with CB Darqueze Dennard?

"Everybody is competing. And that's everywhere, every position. Everybody is competing for a starting job. And everybody, like I said earlier, guys have to show us. They have to earn the right to go out there with our group. And everybody is in that same boat. Are you showing guys that you belong?"

With that, what did DL Drake Jackson show you in his debut and is he just going to have to work through a little pain here for a while with that shoulder?

"Drake did some good things that translate to us winning games. When it comes to him, like on the boot play with the quarterback rolling out with him being able to attack the throwing arm. Affecting the throw, not allowing the quarterback to follow through. His effort on a play over on their sideline, his effort chasing down the quarterback. Those things that he did right there, those things translate to us winning games. The effort, attacking the throwing arm, those things can help us win games, so we're just expecting even more out of him. Good first outing from a lot of our rookies, good first outing, but those guys, again, they're still learning. They're still growing, but we are pleased with some of the things that they've shown us."

Have you seen steady improvement from him working with defensive line coach Kris Kocurek?

"Yes, Drake has been improving. I'm happy with where Drake is. The things that we saw him do in college, he's shown those things here on the practice field. He's shown them in the game a couple days ago. So I'm happy with where Drake is. And again, like with all our young guys, they have so much to learn as far as our style and how we do things. So I was looking to see a steady improvement from him, but he's headed in the right direction. And I'm pleased with him."

What's the best thing that LB Marcelino McCrary-Ball has going for him?

"Marcelino, he did a fantastic job of coming down with the ball, making a big-time play there in the red zone, benefiting over a tip there. For him to find the ball, and he had really good return ability there. He surprised me with the return ability, so it was it was fun to see. It was fun. It was exciting for the entire sideline. When you make a big play like that, everybody is into it, so I was happy to see Marcelino make a play there intercepting a ball. But like I keep saying with all our guys, there's a ton of improvement that's needed. When it comes to playing that linebacker spot, there is a ton of improvement that's needed with the techniques, the details of assignments and all those things he has continued improve there."

CB Deommodore Lenoir and CB Ambry Thomas both got a lot of snaps in the game. How are they going in their progress and getting back into football shape?

"I think both guys are separate individuals. Ambry, he's coming along. I think he's doing better. He's playing with better technique. D-Mo, I love the effort that he played with the physicality. He's coming along. Both guys are doing good things. Both guys are doing good things, but what I press those guys on is it's all about the consistency at which you do things, not just the splash plays or the one time you did it right. Like what's the consistency look like. When those guys show consistently that they can go out and perform the techniques and perform everything that we're asking them to do. If they can consistently perform at a high level that's when we see those gradual improvements, that's when you'll see them getting better. So those guys are still in that same bucket. Everybody. We want to see market improvement from everybody around, whether it's rookies second year players. How can our guys show that they belong?"

S Talanoa Hufanga obviously didn't run super well leading into the draft last year, but he seems to be playing pretty fast this year. In your opinion, what is it that allows him to play as fast as he does despite not having that 'elite speed'?

"Yeah, Huf has what I call the instincts and it's that play-making ability, when the lights come on, it doesn't matter what your 40-time is on gameday. If you're smart enough, you know where the ball is going, you can diagnose plays before they begin. That's how you get a head start on everybody. That's how you're a step ahead. That's how you can make the big plays. And Huf shows that on gameday, he is flying around, hair on fire, making big time plays and it showed the other night. The big time hit that he made, that was awesome to see. I love it. Love the physicality that he brings. That's the style of play I want to see from all other 10 guys that are out there with him. That tenacity, that physicality, that's what we look for in our defense and Huf brought it. He was able to problem solve some things that happened on the field. Great job of communicating, getting guys where they needed to be. So Huf did a really nice job and it was it was fun to watch. He's a fun, exciting player to watch because you know he's going to bring it every single play. In some type of way, he's going to be around the ball, making a big play for you."

What can you take away from DL Javon Kinlaw's film?

"Kinlaw, it was great to see him back out there just to knock the rust off. It's been such a long time and for Kinlaw, just to get back out there, excited to have him out there now, he just continues to improve on his technique. He he did some good things. Knocking back, pushing the pocket. He just continues to steadily build and increase off of what he's done. I was just happy that for him just to knock some of the rust off and get back to playing football pain-free."

Do you view him as a guy that you just want to concentrate on those rundowns or how do you try to kind of compartmentalize? What do you expect from him and what he needs to concentrate on?

"I think first with Kinlaw, just with the physicality, the size, like of course first and foremost, he's a dominant run defender. When he's playing his technique the proper way, but also for his size, the guy can move. He's a very athletic guy and he can rush the passer for a man his size. He can rush. He does have that ability, so not only just a one-dimensional player. That's the most intriguing thing about Kinlaw. He can knock you back physically and he can get around guys with his athleticism. So, yeah, I'm pleased and happy that he's on the right track to help us win some games this year."



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